Vechiul Cazinou - Beta Competition
Built space

The Old Casino

Project description

The original historical building is a local monument called the Old Casino, identified through its national code LMi AR-II-m-B-00498 was erected in 1872 as an entertainment space in the middle of Baross Park from Arad. Due to its location, in the heart of the city, near Mures River and city hall and a continuous use until the beginning of the XXIst century, the construction offered a high sense of place in the citizens’ memory, especially the elder. It has suffered many (mainly) interior interventions, both structural and architectural, all of them concluding with specific deterioration due to the lack of use in the last decade. Subsequently, after 2010, the building has been left abandoned, the poor maintenance lead to serious interior and exterior damage. In 2018, considering the nature of the property, the owners have decided to revive the whole plot (edifice and adjacent site), by giving it a more profitable function, an event hall with all necessary secondary spaces. This meant: replacement of the existing greenhouse with a new one, more appropriate to the monumental character; two levels for event halls, one on the half-basement floor and the other on the former exterior terrace; a new building for vertical circulation and other secondary functions, with a simple volume to emphasize the monument, next to the main construction; extension of the underground level for kitchen spaces and deposits; ground floor porches (as in the native building). All the interventions were made by respecting the requirements imposed by the Monument Committee of the Ministry of Culture, which did not permit the alteration of the general aesthetics of the old Casino ultimately leading to the event hall added as a half-basement and the new steel and glass volume meant to facilitate the vertical circulation. Both major interventions were designed as to the perceived as secondary volumes and highlight the main building of the Casino. In order to better emphasise the authenticity of the heritage building, the restauration process of the interior and exterior ornaments was started before the architectural design. In this way, all the valuable features of the building were highlighted in the final aesthetics of the building. In the same time, throughout the design process, besides the architectural/functional decisions, also interior design choices were made which could better bring out the interior spaces.

Author's presentation text

The partnership between the two architects with the same name became in 2004 a small design office, with many projects in the residential, medical and industrial areas. Other explored fields are two extremes, interior design and urban planning. Large housing projects were, at some point, on a high level, lately this program being just occasionally approached. The design of medium-sized hospitals and a private clinic meant a vast and specialized experience achieved with the integration of a quality architecture in very specific spaces. Industrial buildings, with technological processes and parameters determined by the nature of the activity, require teamwork with other specialists (structural engineers, mechanical installations, technologists, etc.). Residential houses followed a continuous path and they (still) are a way to explore and use up to date technologies to the specific requirements of beneficiaries, with increasingly detailed ways of architectural design.